NHS Highland has denied its attempts to recruit doctors were “poaching” GPs from south of the border, saying it just wanted to stop them leaving the UK.
The health board is now half way through a recruitment campaign, which involves advertising on buses and billboards in Leeds and Liverpool.
And it’s next move is likely to include specifically targeting potential candidates with an interest in outdoor activities, such as mountaineering and photography.
NHS Highland’s remote and rural programme manager, Martine Scott, told Highland Council’s Lochaber area committee that the campaign, which is focusing on West Lochaber and the Small Isles, was going well.
She said: “We are trying to promote the work/life balance in remote and rural areas as a selling point.
“It’s a beautiful area of the country and maybe many people don’t know that and choose to move abroad instead.
“We’ve been accused of poaching GPs from England, but that’s not necessarily the case. We’d rather keep them in the UK than allow them to go to places like New Zealand and Australia.”
The health board is also trying to encourage people to come to the Highlands from other countries.
Ms Scott said: “It’s early days yet. We’re about half way through our campaign, which has another two weeks to run, but we have seen quite a bit of interest in West Lochaber.
“We’ve had a lot of expressions of interest in GP posts and some other posts.”
She added that the main obstacles to recruiting and retaining staff in remote and rural areas were finding jobs for spouses and suitable accommodation. Poor broadband connectivity in some areas was also considered a problem.
Councillor Brian Murphy suggested targeting their efforts on certain groups of people, such as university mountaineering and photography clubs.
Ms Scott said this would probably form part of the next step in the recruitment drive.